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Man lights himself on fire near White House


Quick response

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

A man has lit himself on fire across the street from the White House, according to the Secret Service.

What happened?

In a tweet, the Secret Service said that the incident occurred at 12:20 p.m. ET. The National Park Service and U.S. Park Police administered first aid, and the man was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital.

The Ellipse, a 52-acre park, sits across the street from the White House. It is easily accessible to the public, and not protected by the White House's steel fence. This is the same area where the National Christmas Tree is lit every year.

Even outside of the White House grounds, Secret Service spokesman Jeffrey Adams told Politico that agents "responded in seconds."

According to WTOP, the man was doused by fire extinguishers. A helicopter arrived at the scene within minutes, in addition to several fire trucks.

"I can confirm that we've transported one patient with burns from the Ellipse and we're now on the scene assisting law enforcement," a spokesman for Washington's Fire Department told CNBC.

It is not yet clear if the man had been attempting to make some sort of a political statement. Officers are still trying to determine a motive. His name has not yet been released.

President Donald Trump returned to Washington, D.C., Tuesday after a diplomatic trip to Japan but is unlikely to have been in any danger from this incident.

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